Expect more on the road this year. According to AAA, the number of American’s traveling this Thanksgiving holiday will increase 11.4% from 2009, with approximately 42 million travelers taking a trip at least 50 miles away from home. Last year, there were only 38 million who traveled for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Why so many travelers this year? Well, AAA President and CEO Robert Darbelnet speculates that even though Americans are price cautious this Thanksgiving, many are in a much better financial position then Thanksgiving a year ago. Plus, he says there is an increase in desire to spend more time with loved ones.
The forecast (if accurate) would represent a significant upturn in travel volume considering there has been two years of historic decline (25%) in travel since 2008. Even still, this years expected 42 million travelers is still well below the 2005 peak of 59 million travelers.
Travel by Automobile Still Remains The Dominant Mode of Transportation
In fact, it accounts for 94% of travelers! 40 million people out of the 42 forecasted are expected to hit the road this year. That’s an increase of 12% from last years 36 million who drove for T-day. AAA expects the national average price for a gallon of gasoline to remain somewhere between $2.85 and $2.95 for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Air Travel Also Expected to Increase
Flying the skies is expected to account for 4% of the overall trips this Thanksgiving. That is up 3.5% from last years flyers. Other modes of transportation (i.e. boats, trains, etc) will account for 2% of the overall Thanksgiving day travelers.
However, if traveling by air-don’t expect it to be quick and painless. With the increased security and new full body scanners in several major metropolitan airports, things might be a little stressful at the gate. Be sure to allow plenty if extra time before flight departure.
According to a survey conducted by AAA and IHS Global Insight, the average distance traveled by Americans this holiday is expected to be 816 miles (about the same as one year ago). The median spending is expected to be $495 (about the same as last year). The majority surveyed (82%) indicated that the main purpose of their upcoming travel plans was to visit with friends and family.